Girls at the Junior level are ready to start branching out to try new adventures. And one great way to guide you in planning those activities is to work on the Adventure Sports badge.
Now, this badge is retired but it’s still available for purchase on Facebook, Etsy or other online vendors.
The badge requires six steps to complete based on the requirements for the previous generation of awards. Of the 10 that are listed, I feel the six steps below will be achievable by most troops. I do want to point out that you will need to check with your individual council and their Safety Activity Checkpoints guide to ensure you meet the necessary requirements. If you are doing the training yourself it is extremely likely you will need Girl Scout-approved training as well.
1. Picture It – Create a scrapbook of adventure sports.
The book described this step to be geared towards creating a mood board focused on adventure sport images from magazines or the web. This can easily be achieved by grabbing some outdoor magazines, fitness magazines or visiting a few websites.
However, I think making a scrapbook with mementos of the different adventure sports would be a better option. You can designate parents that attend the events to snap some pics. Or maybe you could even have some of the girls take turns grabbing a few shots (there is a photography badge you know!). Selfies will not be in short supply I’m sure. Be sure to grab some other scrap-booking supplies so they can really glam it up.
You may think the scrapbook has to be at the troop level but you can certainly make one for each individual girl. In fact, that’s probably easier because the girls can take the memories with them. I find it hard to keep things as a troop scrapbook unless it’s made especially for one of the leaders.
2. Get Strong – Practice keeping fit for sports.
Fitness is an important aspect for adventure sports. The badge requirement focuses on preparation for physical activity through common exercises such lunges, squats, etc.
Have the girls come to a meeting in workout clothes or at least clothes that they can move in. If you have an iPad, you can show a workout video geared towards teen girls such as this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixjdNUtWN-Y. The girls can commit to following this workout for a certain number or times or come up with their own version.
3. Gear Up – Learn about the equipment for an adventure.
Once your troop identifies the adventure sports it is going to tackle, they will need to understand the equipment associated with each of them. For instance, water sports and rock climbing obviously have specific gear. What does the equipment look like? What is it called and how much does it cost? And most importantly, be sure that the girls understand the safety equipment and how to use it properly.
This is not a step that you would completely independently. Most likely, you would integrate it as part of each of the specific adventures that your troop participates in.
4. Climb the Walls – Learn skills for a climbing wall.
Rock climbing walls are found in a number of different venues. They can be found in recreation centers, gyms or specialty climbing centers.
There are some specific objectives within this requirement. They are:
How to put on the harness correctly:
- Tie a figure-eight knot
- How to belay
- How to climb
- How to rappel
- How to rest without coming down
Rock climbing is a great activity for girls to learn. It really helps you to focus and improve self-esteem and self-confidence. Also, it’s a sport where girls can improve their skills by moving on to outdoor rock climbing if they should so desire.
5. Rope It – Go to a ropes course and learn skills.
Rope courses are often composed of several obstacles where the girl has to overcome challenges both mentally and physically. Sometimes these course include group challenges as well which focus on trust and problem solving. There may even be a zip line or two.
There are generally ropes courses available nearby for your troop to visit. Even if there is not one in your town you can generally find options in larger cities. It’s a great destination for a day trip with your Juniors.
Ropes courses are composed of both high and low courses. Most likely you will have to do a low ropes course with your Juniors. Check your council’s Safety Activity Checkpoints to see what their age limits are for courses higher than six feet.
6. Kayak – Learn kayaking sills
If your girls attend summer camp with Girl Scouts, church or any other organization, chances are they can complete this requirement on their own. I have taken my own Juniors camping at a Girl Scout camp for a weekend during the spring or fall and rented kayaks.
While most of us probably did canoeing as a child, I prefer to use kayaks now. They are super light and WAY easier to drag into a lake or river.
Here’s a tip if your girls are novices to kayaking. I have the newer girls practice in waist-deep water near the shoreline. I have myself and some other adults stationed at various points so the girls can practice paddling and turning.
Once they get some confidence I’ll jump in a kayak as well as take them out a little further.
There are also some specific skills to cover in this step as well. Besides the usual getting in, getting out, etc., the girls need to learn how to un-swamp their kayak. You’ll need a certified adult and they will be able to cover this.
There are a few other activities you could choose instead of the ones listed above. For instance, windsurfing and mountain biking are listed. However, I felt that those were probably more difficult for most troops to organize.
There is also an option to focus on the environmental impact sports have on nature but girls at this age really want to be active.
Your girls will be Juniors for two years so don’t feel the need to try and get this all done in one weekend.
These activities can be a great incentive for getting to that next level in cookie sales or including as part of your end of year trip.